A coach firm hired by the troubled DVLA to ferry staff to the office is struggling because its workers keep quitting – to take up better-paid roles as HGV drivers.
The government agency, which is battling a backlog of 55,000 HGV licence applications, uses private firm Cymru Coaches to bring hundreds of staff into its Swansea offices each day.
But the firm said experienced drivers have been leaving to triple their wages as hauliers and warned of an imminent knock-on effect across the industry, hitting school buses and other transport routes.
A coach firm hired by the troubled DVLA to ferry staff to the office is struggling because its workers keep quitting – to take up better-paid roles as HGV drivers
Managing director Steve Pearce told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We are going through a tough time and the Government has to act fast – I’ve spoken to other coach companies up and down the country and everyone is struggling to cope.’
As the UK faces a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers, thousands of class C licence holders, including emergency vehicle drivers, have been sent letters urging them to become lorry drivers.
Mr Pearce said his family-run firm had lost four drivers in recent weeks, adding: ‘There’s wages being bandied about at the moment of up to £70,000 a year for HGV drivers. We can’t compete with that. It’s almost three times what a standard bus or coach driver will get.’
Nine of his other drivers are off work after testing positive for Covid-19 as cases in schools across Wales reach more than 10,000 since the start of term three weeks ago, meaning he is operating with just two-thirds of its normal workforce.
As the UK faces a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers, thousands of class C licence holders, including emergency vehicle drivers, have been sent letters urging them to become lorry drivers
The company uses a fleet of 13 coaches to provide a subsidised ‘home to work’ service for DVLA workers who live within a 12-mile radius of the agency’s offices in Morriston, Swansea. The service is used to its full capacity but, due to social distancing, each coach is only allowed to carry half its regulated number of passengers.
Delays at the DVLA have been exacerbated by rolling strike action by the Public and Commercial Services Union. Half of the agency’s staff are still working from home but the DVLA denied it had any impact on processing the HGV documents.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Our teams are working flat out to get these applications processed. It’s our main priority at the moment. Operational staff who need to be in the office to answer the phones and key-in details are at their desks.
‘No-one is sitting at home when their job is opening an envelope in the office. It’s not a case of people having a cup of tea while waiting to be called in. It is business as usual.’
Source: Daily Mail UK